Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J. and Midrigan, Virgiliu Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 413 Abstract:
Recent studies say prices change about every four months. Economists have interpreted this high frequency as evidence against the importance of sticky prices for the real effects of monetary policy. Theory implies that this interpretation is correct if most price changes are regular, but not if most are temporary, as in the data. Temporary changes have a striking feature: after such a change, the nominal price tends to return exactly to its preexisting level. We study versions of Calvo and menu cost models that replicate this feature. Both models predict that the degree of aggregate price stickiness is determined mostly by the frequency of regular price changes, not by the combined frequency of temporary and regular price changes. Since regular prices are sticky in the data, the models predict a substantial degree of aggregate price stickiness even though micro prices change frequently. In particular, the aggregate price level in our models is as sticky as in standard models in which micro prices change about once a year. In this sense, prices are sticky after all.
Keyword: Menu costs, Sticky prices, and Sales Subject (JEL): E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, and E30 - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles: General (includes Measurement and Data)
Creator: Guler, Bulent, Guvenen, Fatih, and Violante, Giovanni L. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 426 Abstract:
Search theory routinely assumes that decisions about the acceptance/rejection of job offers (and, hence, about labor market movements between jobs or across employment states) are made by individuals acting in isolation. In reality, the vast majority of workers are somewhat tied to their partners—in couples and families—and decisions are made jointly. This paper studies, from a theoretical viewpoint, the joint job-search and location problem of a household formed by a couple (e.g., husband and wife) who perfectly pools income. The objective of the exercise, very much in the spirit of standard search theory, is to characterize the reservation wage behavior of the couple and compare it to the single-agent search model in order to understand the ramifications of partnerships for individual labor market outcomes and wage dynamics. We focus on two main cases. First, when couples are risk averse and pool income, joint search yields new opportunities—similar to on-the-job search—relative to the single-agent search. Second, when the two spouses in a couple face job offers from multiple locations and a cost of living apart, joint search features new frictions and can lead to significantly worse outcomes than single-agent search.
Subject (JEL): E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search, and J61 - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
Creator: Guvenen, Fatih and Kuruscu, Burhanettin Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 427 Abstract:
In this paper, we construct a parsimonious overlapping-generations model of human capital accumulation and study its quantitative implications for the evolution of the U.S. wage distribution from 1970 to 2000. A key feature of the model is that individuals differ in their ability to accumulate human capital, which is the main source of wage inequality in this model. We examine the response of this model to skill-biased technical change (SBTC), which is modeled as an increase in the trend growth rate of the price of human capital starting in the early 1970s. The model displays behavior that is consistent with several important trends observed in the US data, including the rise in overall wage inequality; the fall and subsequent rise in the college premium, as well as the fact that this behavior was most pronounced for younger workers; the rise in within-group inequality; the stagnation in median wage growth; and the small rise in consumption inequality despite the large rise in wage inequality. We consider different scenarios regarding how individuals’ expectations evolve during SBTC. Specifically, we study the case where individuals immediately realize the advent of SBTC (perfect foresight), and the case where they initially underestimate the future growth of the price of human capital (pessimistic priors), but learn the truth in a Bayesian fashion over time. Lack of perfect foresight appears to have little effect on the main results of the paper. Overall, the model shows promise for explaining a diverse set of wage distribution trends observed since the 1970s in a unifying human capital framework.
Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution, J31 - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials, and E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth
Creator: Kehoe, Timothy Jerome, 1953- and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 418 Abstract:
Three of the arguments made by Temin (2008) in his review of Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century are demonstrably wrong: that the treatment of the data in the volume is cursory; that the definition of great depressions is too general and, in particular, groups slow growth experiences in Latin America in the 1980s with far more severe great depressions in Europe in the 1930s; and that the book is an advertisement for the real business cycle methodology. Without these three arguments — which are the results of obvious conceptual and arithmetical errors, including copying the wrong column of data from a source — his review says little more than that he does not think it appropriate to apply our dynamic general equilibrium methodology to the study of great depressions, and he does not like the conclusion that we draw: that a successful model of a great depression needs to be able to account for the effects of government policy on productivity.
In 2008, Peter Temin wrote a review of the book that appeared in the Journal of Economic Literature. This staff report and accompanying data file are in response to the review.
Citation for review: Temin, Peter. 2008. "Real Business Cycle Views of the Great Depression and Recent Events: A Review of Timothy J. Kehoe and Edward C. Prescott's Great Depressions of the Twentieth Century." Journal of Economic Literature, 46 (3): 669-84. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1257/jel.46.3.669
Creator: Bhandari, Anmol, Birinci, Serdar, McGrattan, Ellen R., and See, Kurt Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 578 Abstract:
In this appendix, we provide details on the data sources and construction of variables for our analysis in "What Do Survey Data Tell Us about U.S. Businesses?" We also include the auxiliary tables and figures omitted from the main text.
Keyword: Survey data Subject (JEL): C83 - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
Creator: Bhandari, Anmol, Birinci, Serdar, McGrattan, Ellen R., and See, Kurt Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 568 Abstract:
This paper examines the reliability of widely used surveys on U.S. businesses. We compare survey responses of business owners with administrative data and document large inconsistencies in business incomes, receipts, and the number of owners. We document problems due to nonrepresentative samples and measurement errors. Nonrepresentativeness is reflected in undersampling of owners with low incomes. Measurement errors arise because respondents do not refer to relevant documents and possibly because of framing issues. We discuss implications for statistics of interest, such as business valuations and returns. We conclude that predictions based on current survey data should be treated with caution.
Keyword: Survey data, Business taxes and valuation, and Intangibles Subject (JEL): H25 - Business Taxes and Subsidies including sales and value-added (VAT), C83 - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods, and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Burstein, Ariel Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 459 Abstract:
We examine the quantitative impact of policy-induced changes in innovative investment by firms on growth in aggregate productivity and output in a model that nests several of the canonical models in the literature. We isolate two statistics, the impact elasticity of aggregate productivity growth with respect to an increase in aggregate innovative investment and the degree of intertemporal knowledge spillovers in research, that play a key role in shaping the model’s predicted dynamic response of aggregate productivity, output, and welfare to a policy-induced change in the innovation intensity of the economy. Given estimates of these statistics, we find that there is only modest scope for increasing aggregate productivity and output over a 20-year horizon with uniform subsidies to firms’ investments in innovation of a reasonable magnitude, but the welfare gains from such a subsidy may be substantial.
Keyword: Innovation policies, Economic growth, and Social depreciation Subject (JEL): O30 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights: General and O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Hellwig, Christian, and Ordonez, Guillermo Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 464 Abstract:
In all markets, firms go through a process of creative destruction: entry, random growth and exit. In many of these markets there are also regulations that restrict entry, possibly distorting this process. We study the public interest rationale for entry taxes in a general equilibrium model with free entry and exit of firms in which firm dynamics are driven by reputation concerns. In our model firms can produce high-quality output by making a costly but efficient initial unobservable investment. If buyers never learn about this investment, an extreme “lemons problem” develops, no firm invests, and the market shuts down. Learning introduces reputation incentives such that a fraction of entrants do invest. We show that, if the market operates with spot prices, entry taxes always enhance the role of reputation to induce investment, improving welfare despite the impact of these taxes on equilibrium prices and total production.
Keyword: Entry and exit, Creative destruction, Firm dynamics, General equilibrium, Regulation, and Reputation Subject (JEL): D21 - Firm Behavior: Theory, L15 - Information and Product Quality; Standardization and Compatibility, L51 - Economics of Regulation, and D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Bai, Yan, and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 466 Abstract:
The U.S. Great Recession featured a large decline in output and labor, tighter financial conditions, and a large increase in firm growth dispersion. We build a model in which increased volatility at the firm level generates a downturn and worsened credit conditions. The key idea is that hiring inputs is risky because financial frictions limit firms' ability to insure against shocks. An increase in volatility induces firms to reduce their inputs to reduce such risk. Out model can generate most of the decline in output and labor in the Great Recession and the observed increase in firms' interest rate spreads.
Keyword: Credit crunch, Credit constraints, Uncertainty shocks, Firm heterogeneity, Firm credit spreads, Labor wedge, and Great Recession Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E23 - Macroeconomics: Production, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, D53 - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium: Financial Markets, and D52 - Incomplete Markets
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Eisfeldt, Andrea L., and Weill, Pierre-Olivier Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 484 Abstract:
Building on the Merton (1974) and Leland (1994) structural models of credit risk, we develop a simple, transparent, and robust method for measuring the financial soundness of individual firms using data on their equity volatility. We use this method to retrace quantitatively the history of firms’ financial soundness during U.S. business cycles over most of the last century. We highlight three main findings. First, the three worst recessions between 1926 and 2012 coincided with insolvency crises, but other recessions did not. Second, fluctuations in asset volatility appear to drive variation in firms’ financial soundness. Finally, the financial soundness of financial firms largely resembles that of nonfinancial firms.
Keyword: Distance to Default, Volatility, Financial Frictions and Business Cycles, and Credit Risk Modeling Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, G32 - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill, and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Kehoe, Patrick J., Midrigan, Virgiliu, and Pastorino, Elena Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 536 Abstract:
During the Great Recession, regions of the United States that experienced the largest declines in household debt also experienced the largest drops in consumption, employment, and wages. Employment declines were larger in the nontradable sector and for firms that were facing the worst credit conditions. Motivated by these findings, we develop a search and matching model with credit frictions that affect both consumers and firms. In the model, tighter debt constraints raise the cost of investing in new job vacancies and thus reduce worker job finding rates and employment. Two key features of our model, on-the-job human capital accumulation and consumer-side credit frictions, are critical to generating sizable drops in employment. On-the-job human capital accumulation makes the flows of benefits from posting vacancies long-lived and so greatly amplifies the sensitivity of such investments to credit frictions. Consumer-side credit frictions further magnify these effects by leading wages to fall only modestly. We show that the model reproduces well the salient cross-regional features of the U.S. data during the Great Recession.
Keyword: Search and matching, Human capital, Employment, and Debt constraints Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles, E24 - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity, J21 - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure, and J64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
Creator: Mercenier, Jean and Schmitt, Nicolas Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 188 Abstract:
We argue that the rationalization gains often predicted by static applied general equilibrium models with imperfect competition and scale economies are artificially boosted by an unrealistic treatment of fixed costs. We introduce sunk costs into one such model calibrated with real-world data. We show how this changes the oligopoly game in a way significant enough to affect, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the outcome of a trade liberalization exercise.
Keyword: Market structure, Applied general equilibrium, Sunk costs, and Trade liberalization Subject (JEL): D58 - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models, C68 - Computable General Equilibrium Models, F17 - Trade: Forecasting and Simulation, and F12 - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
Creator: Hopenhayn, Hugo Andres, Llobet, Gerard, and Mitchell, Matt Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 273 Abstract:
This paper presents a model of cumulative innovation where firms are heterogeneous in their research ability. We study the optimal reward policy when the quality of the ideas and their subsequent development effort are private information. The optimal assignment of property rights must counterbalance the incentives of current and future innovators. The resulting mechanism resembles a menu of patents that have infinite duration and fixed scope, where the latter increases in the value of the idea. Finally, we provide a way to implement this patent menu by using a simple buyout scheme: The innovator commits at the outset to a price ceiling at which he will sell his rights to a future inventor. By paying a larger fee initially, a higher price ceiling is obtained. Any subsequent innovator must pay this price and purchase its own buyout fee contract.
Keyword: Compulsory Licensing, Innovation, Patents, Policy, Mechanism Design, Asymmetric Information, and Sequential Innovation Subject (JEL): L50 - Regulation and Industrial Policy: General, K23 - Regulated Industries and Administrative Law, L51 - Economics of Regulation, D82 - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design, D43 - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design: Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection, H41 - Public Goods, and O31 - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
Creator: Thomas, Julia Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 302 Abstract:
Previous research has suggested that discrete and occasional plant-level capital adjustments have significant aggregate implications. In particular, it has been argued that changes in plants’ willingness to invest in response to aggregate shocks can at times generate large movements in total investment demand. In this study, I re-assess these predictions in a general equilibrium environment. Specifically, assuming nonconvex costs of capital adjustment, I derive generalized (S,s) adjustment rules yielding lumpy plant-level investment within an otherwise standard equilibrium business cycle model. In contrast to previous partial equilibrium analyses, model results reveal that the aggregate effects of lumpy investment are negligible. In general equilibrium, households’ preference for relatively smooth consumption profiles offsets changes in aggregate investment demand implied by the introduction of lumpy plant-level investment. As a result, adjustments in wages and interest rates yield quantity dynamics that are virtually indistinguishable from the standard model.
Keyword: Business Cycles, Lumpy Investment, and (S,s) Adjustment Subject (JEL): E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Kleiner, Morris and Soltas, Evan J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 590 Abstract:
We assess the welfare consequences of occupational licensing for workers and consumers. We estimate a model of labor market equilibrium in which licensing restricts labor supply but also affects labor demand via worker quality and selection. On the margin of occupations licensed differently between U.S. states, we find that licensing raises wages and hours but reduces employment. We estimate an average welfare loss of 12 percent of occupational surplus. Workers and consumers respectively bear 70 and 30 percent of the incidence. Higher willingness to pay offsets 80 percent of higher prices for consumers, and higher wages compensate workers for 60 percent of the cost of mandated investment in occupation-specific human capital.
Keyword: Labor supply, Welfare analysis, Human capital, and Occupational licensing Subject (JEL): J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, D61 - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis, K31 - Labor Law, J44 - Professional Labor Markets; Occupational Licensing, and J38 - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs: Public Policy
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Mateos-Planas, Xavier, and Ríos-Rull, José-Víctor Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 589 Abstract:
In the data sovereign default is always partial and varies in its duration. Debt levels during default episodes initially increase and do not experience reductions upon resolution. This paper presents a theory of sovereign default that replicates these properties, which are absent in standard sovereign default theory. Partial default is a flexible way to raise funds as the sovereign chooses its intensity and duration. Partial default is also costly because it amplifies debt crises as the defaulted debt accumulates and interest rate spreads increase. This theory is capable of rationalizing the large heterogeneity in partial default, its comovements with spreads, debt levels, and output, and the dynamics of debt during default episodes. In our theory, as in the data, debt grows during default episodes, and large defaults are longer, and associated with higher interest rate spreads, higher debt levels, and deeper recessions.
Keyword: Sovereign risk, Emerging markets, Debt crises, and Debt restructuring Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt, and G01 - Financial Crises
Creator: Luttmer, Erzo G. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 585 Abstract:
Most firms begin very small, and large firms are the result of typically decades of persistent growth. This growth can be understood as the result of some form of organization capital accumulation. In the US, the distribution of firm size k has a right tail only slightly thinner than 1/k. This is shown to imply that incumbent firms account for most aggregate organization capital accumulation. And it implies potentially extremely slow aggregate convergence rates. A benchmark model is proposed in which managers can use incumbent organization capital to create new organization capital. Workers are a specific factor for producing consumption, and they require managerial supervision. Through the lens of the model, the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2008 is unsurprising if the events of late 2008 and early 2009 are interpreted as a destruction of organization capital, or as a belief shock that made consumers want to reduce consumption and accumulate more wealth instead.
Keyword: Zipf's law, Business cycles, Firm size distribution, and Slow recoveries Subject (JEL): L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Prescott, Edward C. and Wessel, Ryan Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 562 Abstract:
Businesses hold large quantities of cash reserves, which have average returns well below their investments in tangible capital. Businesses do this because these monetary assets provide services. One implication is that money services is a factor of production in capital theoretic valuation equilibrium models. Our aggregate production function is consistent with both the classical demand for money function relationship and with extended periods of near zero short-term nominal interest rates. In our model economy, there is a 100 percent reserve requirement on all demand deposits. Demand deposits are legal tender. We find (i) money services in the production function necessitates revisions in the national accounts; (ii) monetary and fiscal policy cannot be completely separated; (iii) for a given policy, equilibrium is either unique or does not exist; and (iv) Friedman’s monetary satiation is not optimal. We make quantitative comparisons between interest rate targeting regimes and between inflation rate targeting regimes. The best inflation rate target was 2 percent.
Keyword: Money in production function, Friedman monetary satiation, Interest rate targeting, Zero lower bound, Inflation rate targeting, and 100 percent reserve banking Subject (JEL): E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics: General, E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, and E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General
Creator: Ohanian, Lee E., Restrepo-Echavarria, Paulina, and Wright, Mark L. J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 563 Abstract:
After World War II, international capital flowed into slow-growing Latin America rather than fast-growing Asia. This is surprising as, everything else equal, fast growth should imply high capital returns. This paper develops a capital flow accounting framework to quantify the role of different factor market distortions in producing these patterns. Surprisingly, we find that distortions in labor markets — rather than domestic or international capital markets — account for the bulk of these flows. Labor market distortions that indirectly depress investment incentives by lowering equilibrium labor supply explain two-thirds of observed flows, while improvement in these distortions over time accounts for much of Asia’s rapid growth.
Keyword: Labor markets, Domestic capital markets, Capital flows, and International capital markets Subject (JEL): E21 - Macroeconomics: Consumption; Saving; Wealth, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, F21 - International Investment; Long-term Capital Movements, and J20 - Demand and Supply of Labor: General
Creator: Amador, Manuel and Phelan, Christopher Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 564 Abstract:
This paper presents a continuous-time model of sovereign debt. In it, a relatively impatient sovereign government’s hidden type switches back and forth between a commitment type, which cannot default, and an optimizing type, which can default on the country’s debt at any time, and assume outside lenders have particular beliefs regarding how a commitment type should borrow for any given level of debt and bond price. We show that if these beliefs satisfy reasonable assumptions, in any Markov equilibrium, the optimizing type mimics the commitment type when borrowing, revealing its type only by defaulting on its debt at random times. Further, in such Markov equilibria (the solution to a simple pair of ordinary differential equations), there are positive gross issuances at all dates, constant net imports as long as there is a positive equilibrium probability that the government is the optimizing type, and net debt repayment only by the commitment type. For countries that have recently defaulted, the interest rate the country pays on its debt is a decreasing function of the amount of time since its last default, and its total debt is an increasing function of the amount of time since its last default. For countries that have not recently defaulted, interest rates are constant.
Keyword: Serial defaulters, Sovereign default, Reputation, Debt intolerance, Sovereign debt, and Learning Subject (JEL): F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew, Eisfeldt, Andrea L., Weill, Pierre-Olivier, and d'Avernas, Adrien Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 567 Abstract:
Banks' ratio of the market value to book value of their equity was close to 1 until the 1990s, then more than doubled during the 1996-2007 period, and fell again to values close to 1 after the 2008 financial crisis. Sarin and Summers (2016) and Chousakos and Gorton (2017) argue that the drop in banks' market-to-book ratio since the crisis is due to a loss in bank franchise value or profitability. In this paper we argue that banks' market-to-book ratio is the sum of two components: franchise value and the value of government guarantees. We empirically decompose the ratio between these two components and find that a large portion of the variation in this ratio over time is due to changes in the value of government guarantees.
Keyword: Bank valuation, Bank leverage, Risk shifting, Bank financial soundness, Banking, and Bank regulation Subject (JEL): H12 - Crisis Management, G32 - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill, E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, G38 - Corporate Finance and Governance: Government Policy and Regulation, G21 - Banks; Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages, and G28 - Financial Institutions and Services: Government Policy and Regulation
Creator: Koijen, Ralph S. J. and Yogo, Motohiro Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 510 Abstract:
We develop an asset pricing model with flexible heterogeneity in asset demand across investors, designed to match institutional and household holdings. A portfolio choice model implies characteristics-based demand when returns have a factor structure and expected returns and factor loadings depend on the assets' own characteristics. We propose an instrumental variables estimator for the characteristics-based demand system to address the endogeneity of demand and asset prices. Using U.S. stock market data, we illustrate how the model could be used to understand the role of institutions in asset market movements, volatility, and predictability.
Keyword: Demand system, Liquidity, Portfolio choice, Asset pricing model, and Institutional investors Subject (JEL): G23 - Pension Funds; Non-bank Financial Institutions; Financial Instruments; Institutional Investors and G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
Creator: Arellano, Cristina, Bai, Yan, Bocola, Luigi, and test Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 547 Abstract:
This paper measures the output costs of sovereign risk by combining a sovereign debt model with firm- and bank-level data. In our framework, an increase in sovereign risk lowers the price of government debt and has an adverse impact on banks’ balance sheets, disrupting their ability to finance firms. Importantly, firms are not equally affected by these developments: those that have greater financing needs and borrow from banks that are more exposed to government debt cut their production the most in a debt crisis. We measure the extent of this heterogeneity using Italian data and parameterize the model to match these cross-sectional facts. In counterfactual analysis, we find that heightened sovereign risk was responsible for one-third of the observed output decline during the 2011-2012 crisis in Italy.
Keyword: Micro data, Firm heterogeneity, Business cycles, Financial intermediation, and Sovereign debt crises Subject (JEL): E44 - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy, F34 - International Lending and Debt Problems, G15 - International Financial Markets, and G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
Creator: Kareken, John H. and Wallace, Neil Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 009 Abstract:
Portfolio autarky obtains when residents of every country are prohibited from owning real assets located in other countries. Such a regime and a laissez-faire regime, both characterized by free trade in goods, are studied in a model whose resource and technology assumptions are those of the standard two-country, two- (nonreproducible) factor, two- (nonstorable) good model. But to ensure a market for assets (land), the model is peopled by overlapping generations; each two-period lived individual supplies one unit of labor only in the first period of his life. Unique equilibria are described and shown to exist, and, in terms of a “growth model” version of the Pareto criterion, laissez-faire is shown to be optimal and portfolio autarky to be nonoptimal.
Creator: Kareken, John H. and Wallace, Neil Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 016 Abstract:
No abstract available.
Creator: Kareken, John H. and Wallace, Neil Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 024 Abstract:
In this paper, we examine various exchange rate regimes, paying particular attention to what difference the monetary-fiscal policy choices of governments make. The exchange rate may be market-determined or fixed, and if fixed, either cooperatively or by one government alone. Further, capital controls may or may not apply. Our most important result, quite general, we believe, is that absent capital controls the equilibrium exchange rate of the floating rate regime is indeterminate. It makes no sense to advocate floating rates and unfettered international borrowing and lending.
Creator: King, Robert G. (Robert Graham) and Thomas, Julia Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 327 Abstract:
Many kinds of economic behavior involve discrete and occasional individual choices. Despite this, econometric partial adjustment models perform relatively well at the aggregate level. Analyzing the classic employment adjustment problem, we show how such microeconomic adjustment is well described by a new form of partial adjustment model that aggregates the actions of heterogeneous producers.
We develop a model where individual establishments infrequently alter the sizes of their workforces because such adjustments involve fixed costs. In the market equilibrium, employment responses to aggregate disturbances include changes both in target employments selected by individual establishments and in the measure of establishments actively undertaking adjustment. Yet the model retains a partial adjustment flavor in its aggregate responses. Moreover, in contrast to existing discrete adjustment models, our generalized partial adjustment model is sufficiently tractable to allow general equilibrium analysis, and it naturally extends to accommodate persistent differences in productivity across establishments in general equilibrium.
Keyword: Employment Dynamics, Partial Adjustment, and (S,s) Adjustment Subject (JEL): E20 - Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy: General (includes Measurement and Data) and E10 - General Aggregative Models: General
Creator: Geweke, John and Keane, Michael P. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 233 Abstract:
This study uses data from the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics (PSID) to address a number of questions about life cycle earnings mobility. It develops a dynamic reduced form model of earnings and marital status that is nonstationary over the life cycle. The study reaches several firm conclusions about life cycle earnings mobility. Incorporating non-Gaussian shocks makes it possible to account for transitions between low and higher earnings states, a heretofore unresolved problem. The non-Gaussian distribution substantially increases the lifetime return to post-secondary education, and substantially reduces differences in lifetime wages attributable to race. In a given year, the majority of variance in earnings not accounted for by race, education and age is due to transitory shocks, but over a lifetime the majority is due to unobserved individual heterogeneity. Consequently, low earnings at early ages are strong predictors of low earnings later in life, even conditioning on observed individual characteristics.
Creator: Geweke, John and Keane, Michael P. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 237 Abstract:
This paper generalizes the normal probit model of dichotomous choice by introducing mixtures of normals distributions for the disturbance term. By mixing on both the mean and variance parameters and by increasing the number of distributions in the mixture these models effectively remove the normality assumption and are much closer to semiparametric models. When a Bayesian approach is taken, there is an exact finite-sample distribution theory for the choice probability conditional on the covariates. The paper uses artificial data to show how posterior odds ratios can discriminate between normal and nonnormal distributions in probit models. The method is also applied to female labor force participation decisions in a sample with 1,555 observations from the PSID. In this application, Bayes factors strongly favor mixture of normals probit models over the conventional probit model, and the most favored models have mixtures of four normal distributions for the disturbance term.
Keyword: Discrete choice, Markov chain Monte Carlo, and Normal mixture Subject (JEL): C25 - Single Equation Models; Single Variables: Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities and C11 - Bayesian Analysis: General
Creator: Ayres, João, Garcia, Márcio Gomes Pinto, Guillen, Diogo, and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 575 Abstract:
Brazil has had a long period of high inflation. It peaked around 100 percent per year in 1964, decreased until the first oil shock (1973), but accelerated again afterward, reaching levels above 100 percent on average between 1980 and 1994. This last period coincided with severe balance of payments problems and economic stagnation that followed the external debt crisis in the early 1980s. We show that the high-inflation period (1960-1994) was characterized by a combination of fiscal deficits, passive monetary policy, and constraints on debt financing. The transition to the low-inflation period (1995-2016) was characterized by improvements in all of these features, but it did not lead to significant improvements in economic growth. In addition, we document a strong positive correlation between inflation rates and seigniorage revenues, although inflation rates are relatively high for modest levels of seigniorage revenues. Finally, we discuss the role of the weak institutional framework surrounding the fiscal and monetary authorities and the role of monetary passiveness and inflation indexation in accounting for the unique features of inflation dynamics in Brazil.
Keyword: Brazil's stagnation, Brazil's hyperinflation, Fiscal deficit, Stabilization plans, and Debt accounting Subject (JEL): E42 - Monetary Systems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System; Payment Systems, H62 - National Deficit; Surplus, E63 - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy, and H63 - National Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
Creator: Boyd, John H. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 087 Abstract:
This paper studies an environment in which the investment opportunities of agents are private information and shows that financial intermediaries arise endogenously within that environment. It establishes that financial intermediaries are part of an efficient arrangement in the sense that they are needed to support the authors’ private information core allocations. These intermediaries, which are coalitions of agents, exhibit the following characteristics in equilibrium: they borrow from and lend to large groups of agents; they produce information about investment projects; and they issue claims that have different state contingent payoffs than claims issued by ultimate borrowers.
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 412 Abstract:
We present a pricing kernel that summarizes well the main features of the dynamics of interest rates and risk in postwar U.S. data and use it to uncover how the pricing kernel has moved with the short rate. Our findings imply that standard monetary models miss an essential link between the central bank instrument and the economic activity that monetary policy is intended to affect, and thus we call for a new approach to monetary policy analysis. We sketch a new approach using an economic model based on our pricing kernel. The model incorporates the key relationships between policy and risk movements in an unconventional way: the central bank’s policy changes are viewed as primarily intended to compensate for exogenous business cycle fluctuations in risk that threaten to push inflation off target. This model, while an improvement over standard models, is considered just a starting point for their revision.
Subject (JEL): E58 - Central Banks and Their Policies, E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General, E50 - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit: General, and E52 - Monetary Policy
Creator: Boyd, John H. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 100 Abstract:
The implications of a dynamic coalition production technology are explored. With this technology, coalitions produce the current period consumption good as well as coalition-specific capital which is embodied in young coalition members. The equilibrium allocation is efficient and displays constant growth rates, even though exogenous technological change is not a feature of the environment. Unlike the neoclassical growth model, policies which influence agents’ investment-consumption decisions affect not only the level of output, but also its constant growth rate. In addition to these growth entailments, the theory has equally important industrial organization implications. Specifically, in equilibrium there is no tendency for coalition (firm) size to regress to the mean or for the distribution of coalition sizes to become more disparate.
Creator: Boyd, John H. and Jagannathan, Ravi Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 173 Abstract:
This study examines common stock prices around ex-dividend dates. Such price data usually contain a mixture of observations—some with and some without arbitrageurs and/or dividend capturers active. Our theory predicts that such mixing will result in some nonlinear relation between percentage price drop and dividend yield—not the commonly assumed linear relation. This prediction and another important prediction of theory are supported empirically. In a variety of tests, marginal price drop is not significantly different from the dividend amount. Thus, over the last several decades, one-for-one marginal price drop has been an excellent (average) rule of thumb.
Subject (JEL): G12 - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates and G14 - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
Creator: Hansen, Lars Peter, McGrattan, Ellen R., and Sargent, Thomas J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 182 Abstract:
This paper catalogues formulas that are useful for estimating dynamic linear economic models. We describe algorithms for computing equilibria of an economic model and for recursively computing a Gaussian likelihood function and its gradient with respect to parameters. We display an application to Rosen, Murphy, and Scheinkman's (1994) model of cattle cycles.
Creator: Anderson, Evan W. , Hansen, Lars Peter, McGrattan, Ellen R., and Sargent, Thomas J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 198 Abstract:
This paper catalogues formulas that are useful for estimating dynamic linear economic models. We describe algorithms for computing equilibria of an economic model and for recursively computing a Gaussian likelihood function and its gradient with respect to parameters. We apply these methods to several example economies.
Creator: Chari, V. V. and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 228 Abstract:
Recent empirical work on financial crises documents that crises tend to occur when macroeconomic fundamentals are weak, but that even after conditioning on an exhaustive list of fundamentals, a sizable random component to crises and associated capital flows remains. We develop a model of herd behavior consistent with these observations. Informational frictions together with standard debt default problems lead to volatile capital flows resembling hot money and financial crises. We show that repaying debt during difficult times identifies a government as financially resilient, enhances its reputation and stabilizes capital flows. Bailing out governments deprives resilient countries of this opportunity.
Creator: Geweke, John Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 249 Abstract:
This paper surveys the fundamental principles of subjective Bayesian inference in econometrics and the implementation of those principles using posterior simulation methods. The emphasis is on the combination of models and the development of predictive distributions. Moving beyond conditioning on a fixed number of completely specified models, the paper introduces subjective Bayesian tools for formal comparison of these models with as yet incompletely specified models. The paper then shows how posterior simulators can facilitate communication between investigators (for example, econometricians) on the one hand and remote clients (for example, decision makers) on the other, enabling clients to vary the prior distributions and functions of interest employed by investigators. A theme of the paper is the practicality of subjective Bayesian methods. To this end, the paper describes publicly available software for Bayesian inference, model development, and communication and provides illustrations using two simple econometric models.
Creator: Cole, Harold Linh, 1957- and Ohanian, Lee E. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 270 Abstract:
This paper quantitatively evaluates the hypothesis that deflation can account for much of the Great Depression (1929–33). We examine two popular explanations of the Depression: (1) The “high wage” story, according to which deflation, combined with imperfectly flexible wages, raised real wages and reduced employment and output. (2) The “bank failure” story, according to which deflationary money shocks contributed to bank failures and to a reduction in the efficiency of financial intermediation, which in turn reduced lending and output. We evaluate these stories using general equilibrium business cycle models, and find that wage shocks and banking shocks account for a small fraction of the Great Depression. We also find that some other predictions of the theories are at variance with the data.
Creator: Jones, Larry E., Manuelli, Rodolfo E., and Siu, Henry E. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 271 Abstract:
We present a class of convex endogenous growth models and analyze their performance in terms of both growth and business cycle criteria. The models we study have close analogs in the real business cycle literature. We interpret the exogenous growth rate of productivity as an endogenous growth rate of human capital. This perspective allows us to compare the strengths of the two classes of models.
To highlight the mechanism that gives endogenous growth models the ability to improve upon their exogenous growth relatives, we study models that are symmetric in terms of human and physical capital formation—our two engines of growth. More precisely, we analyze models in which the technology used to produce human capital is identical to the technologies used to produce consumption and investment goods and in which the technology shocks in the two sectors are perfectly correlated.
Subject (JEL): D90 - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: General and E32 - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
Creator: Mitchell, Matt Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 269 Abstract:
Many manufacturing industries, including the computer industry, have seen large increases in productivity growth rates and have experienced a reduction in average establishment size and a decrease in the variance of the sizes of plants. A vintage capital model is introduced where learning increases productivity on any given technology and firms choose when to adopt a new vintage. In the model, a rise in the rate of technological change leads to a decrease in both the mean and variance of the size distribution.
Keyword: Productivity Growth, Plant Size, and Technological Change Subject (JEL): L60 - Industry Studies: Manufacturing: General, O30 - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights: General, and L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
Creator: Alvarez, Fernando, 1964-, Atkeson, Andrew, and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 278 Abstract:
This paper analyzes the effects of money injections on interest rates and exchange rates in a model in which agents must pay a Baumol-Tobin style fixed cost to exchange bonds and money. Asset markets are endogenously segmented because this fixed cost leads agents to trade bonds and money only infrequently. When the government injects money through an open market operation, only those agents that are currently trading absorb these injections. Through their impact on these agents’ consumption, these money injections affect real interest rates and real exchange rates. We show that the model generates the observed negative relation between expected inflation and real interest rates. With moderate amounts of segmentation, the model also generates other observed features of the data: persistent liquidity effects in interest rates and volatile and persistent exchange rates. A standard model with no fixed costs can produce none of these features.
Keyword: Term structure of interest rates, Volatile real exchange rates, Liquidity effects, Fixed costs, and Baumol-Tobin model Subject (JEL): E40 - Money and Interest Rates: General, F41 - Open Economy Macroeconomics, E52 - Monetary Policy, E43 - Interest Rates: Determination, Term Structure, and Effects, and F31 - Foreign Exchange
Creator: Phelan, Christopher Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 283 Abstract:
This paper presents a simple model of government reputation which captures two characteristics of policy outcomes in less developed countries: governments which betray public trust do so erratically, and, after a betrayal, public trust is regained only gradually.
Keyword: Government reputation Subject (JEL): H20 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue: General and C73 - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games; Repeated Games
Creator: Schmitz, James Andrew Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 286 Abstract:
Great Lakes iron ore producers had faced no competition from foreign iron ore in the Great Lakes steel market for nearly a century as the 1970s closed. In the early 1980s, as a result of unprecedented developments in the world steel market, Brazilian producers were offering to deliver iron ore to Chicago (the heart of the Great Lakes market) at prices substantially below local iron ore prices. The U.S. and Canadian iron ore industries faced a major crisis that cast doubt on their future. In response to the crisis, these industries dramatically increased productivity. Labor productivity doubled in a few years (whereas it had changed little in the preceding decade). Materials productivity increased by more than half. Capital productivity increased as well. I show that most of the productivity gains were due to changes in work practices. Work practice changes reduced overstaffing and hence increased labor productivity. Changes in work practices, by increasing the fraction of time equipment was in operating mode, also significantly increased materials and capital productivity.
Keyword: Effort, Labor Productivity, Work Rules, and Competition Subject (JEL): J50 - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining: General, J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity, L70 - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction: General, O40 - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity: General, and O35 - Social Innovation
Creator: Mitchell, Matt Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 290 Abstract:
The skill premium fell substantially in the first part of the 20th century, and then rose at the end of the century. I argue that these changes are connected to the organization of production. When production is organized into large plants, jobs become routinized, favoring less skilled workers. Building on the notion that numerically controlled machines made capital more “flexible” at the end of the century, the model allows for changes in the ability of capital to do a wide variety of tasks. When calibrated to data on the distribution of plant sizes, the model can account for between half and two-thirds of the movement in the skill premium over the century. It is also in accord with a variety of industry level evidence.
Creator: Atkeson, Andrew and Kehoe, Patrick J. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 291 Abstract:
Manufacturing plants have a clear life cycle: they are born small, grow substantially as they age, and eventually die. Economists have long thought that this life cycle is driven by the accumulation of plant-specific knowledge, here called organization capital. Theory suggests that where plants are in the life cycle determines the size of the payments, or dividends, plant owners receive from organization capital. These payments are compensation for the interest cost to plant owners of waiting for their plants to grow. We build a quantitative growth model of the life cycle of plants and use it, along with U.S. data, to infer the overall size of these payments. They turn out to be quite large—more than one-third the size of the payments plant owners receive from physical capital, net of new investment, and more than 40% of payments from all forms of intangible capital.
Subject (JEL): E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical, B41 - Economic Methodology, E25 - Aggregate Factor Income Distribution, and E22 - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
Creator: Golosov, Mikhail, Kocherlakota, Narayana Rao, 1963-, and Tsyvinski, Aleh Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 293 Abstract:
In this paper, we consider an environment in which agents’ skills are private information, are potentially multi-dimensional, and follow arbitrary stochastic processes. We allow for arbitrary incentive-compatible and physically feasible tax schemes. We prove that it is typically Pareto optimal to have positive capital taxes. As well, we prove that in any given period, it is Pareto optimal to tax consumption goods at a uniform rate.
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 472 Abstract:
A problem that faces many countries including the United States is how to finance retirement consumption as the population ages. Proposals for switching to a saving-for-retirement system that do not rely on high payroll taxes have been challenged on the grounds that welfare would fall for some groups such as retirees or the working poor. We show how to devise a transition path from the current U.S. system to a saving-for-retirement system that increases the welfare of all current and future generations, with estimates of future gains higher than those found in typically used macroeconomic models. The gains are large because there is more productive capital than commonly assumed. Our quantitative results depend importantly on accounting for differences between actual government tax revenues and what revenues would be if all income were taxed at the income-weighted average marginal tax rates used in our analysis.
Keyword: Retirement, Medicare, Social Security, and Taxation Subject (JEL): H55 - Social Security and Public Pensions, I13 - Health Insurance, Public and Private, and E13 - General Aggregative Models: Neoclassical
Creator: McGrattan, Ellen R. and Prescott, Edward C. Series: Staff report (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Research Department) Number: 406 Abstract:
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) estimates the return on investments of foreign subsidiaries of U.S. multinational companies over the period 1982–2006 averaged 9.4 percent annually after taxes; U.S. subsidiaries of foreign multinationals averaged only 3.2 percent. Two factors distort BEA returns: technology capital and plant-specific intangible capital. Technology capital is accumulated know-how from intangible investments in R&D, brands, and organizations that can be used in foreign and domestic locations. Used abroad, it generates profits for foreign subsidiaries with no foreign direct investment (FDI). Plant-specific intangible capital in foreign subsidiaries is expensed abroad, lowering current profits on FDI and increasing future profits. We develop a multicountry general equilibrium model with an essential role for FDI and apply the BEA’s methodology to construct economic statistics for the model economy. We estimate that mismeasurement of intangible investments accounts for over 60 percent of the difference in BEA returns.
Subject (JEL): F32 - Current Account Adjustment; Short-term Capital Movements and F23 - Multinational Firms; International Business